This week as part of the Asthma and Sport program, which is run by the Spolint Institute in cooperation with Lek, a Sandoz company, a month of free swimming specially adapted for asthma patients began in Ljubljana. With the help of donations collected over the past year, free swimming will be available to around 40 asthma patients, mainly children and youths.
Asthma patients have to take an active approach to dealing with their difficulties with asthma and engage in regular physical activity from childhood on. The lungs continue to develop until 20 years of age, and therefore it is important that children and youth with asthma are active in sports, since this will reduce their health problems in later life. “Swimming is a very good activity for asthma patients, since it helps develop the lungs and strengthen the respiratory muscles. In addition, there is no dust at the pool, and the air is sufficiently warm and humid, which is particularly important for asthmatics. During the free swimming sessions for asthmatics in February we will be focusing on breathing exercises and teaching the participants additional preventive measures,” said Dr. Milan Hosta, head of the Asthma and Sport program.
“As a part of Sandoz, which is one of the top five pharmaceutical companies offering high-quality generic products for treating respiratory diseases, we know that taking an active approach to asthma is exceptionally important, especially for younger people. Therefore we have participated for several years in the development of the Asthma and Sport program, which provides regular physical activity in addition to the necessary medicines for asthma patients. We have supported the now-annual charity spinning event, at which our cycling team always participates, we take part in activities surrounding World Asthma Day, and together with Marko Baloh we have developed the “For Better Breathing” bicycling marathon, which will be held for the fifth time this year, and we also support swimming month and holidays in Pacug for children with asthma,” said Marjan Novak, a.i. Head of Corporate Communication at Lek, a Sandoz company.
According to research data from Golnik Hospital, around 10 percent of the Slovenian population has asthma or related symptoms of respiratory illness. The majority of them are sensitive to stress. Asthma is also the main cause of hospitalization of children around the world and one of the most common reasons for absence from school. In the Netherlands for example the annual cost per asthma patient is 500 euros, while with hospitalization the costs rises to around 2,000 euros, and experts expect the costs of the disease to increase by 60 percent in the near future. The total cost of treating asthma is growing dramatically and currently exceeds 17.7 billion euros per year. Asthma decreases productivity, since more than half of the costs arise daily, when people suffering from asthma miss work owing to the disease.
“Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children in countries with a western lifestyle. In Slovenia nearly 14 percent of schoolchildren have asthma. Asthma is a chronic infectious disease of the respiratory tract. It can be contracted at any time, but usually appears during childhood. The symptoms of the disease are coughing, difficult and fast breathing, pressure in the chest, whistling in the chest, reduced physical capacity or a feeling of difficulty breathing during heavy stress. Asthma cannot be completely cured, but it can be successfully controlled through changes in our living environment and appropriate treatment. The goal of treatment is complete control of the disease and the elimination of all obstacles to the child because of the disease. This goal is achievable through appropriate treatment,” says Uroš Krivec MD, head of the Pulmonary Disease Center at the Pediatric Clinic of the University Medical Center in Ljubljana.
An active and healthy lifestyle is extremely important for patients with asthma. Asthma should not be an obstacle to participation in sports and other activities. At Lek, a Sandoz company, we agree wholeheartedly. “There is currently still a relatively small selection of generic medicines available for treating asthma and other respiratory diseases. Therefore Sandoz’s work in this area is very important. Based on years of experience, Sandoz offers patients a significant increase in their quality of life through hard-to-manufacture products such as e.g. inhalers. Sandoz’s network also includes the American pharmaceutical company Oriel Therapeutics, which is involved in the development and manufacturing of drugs and medical accessories for treating respiratory diseases, which has allowed us to expand our product range as well as our knowledge base for further development. This will enable us to increase patient access to high-quality and affordable medicines for treating these continually more widespread diseases,” added Marjan Novak.